Whatever your reason for running a marathon, whether you want to test yourself, run for a charitable cause, or compete in a race, the first key is to develop a consistent and challenging training regimen. To stay consistent, remember your motivation for those cold, early morning runs. Here are the four steps to training for a marathon:
- Base Mileage. If you’ve never run a marathon before, start your training early. You will need to build enough stamina to run 20-30 miles a week a year before the race and up to 50 miles per week four months before the race. Most marathon training programs last between 12 and 20 weeks. Never increase your weekly mileage by more than ten percent each week. This will train your body to running long distances on a regular basis.
- Long Runs. Every seven to ten days, run for a longer distance than normal. Over time, you will want to push your distance to about twenty miles on a single run, but remember to never push your body too hard or you will risk injury. Every three weeks, scale your long runs back again before adding more mileage to your long runs.
- Speed Work. Every week or so, press the tempo for a few miles. Try to run four repetitions of a fast mile with light jogging or walking in between. You can also time yourself for more rigorous runs. Warm up and warm down with some easy miles before and after your speed work.
Anshul Khetarpal has trained for and competed in several marathons in Redding, CA.